Mobile Phone Use in Psychiatry Residents in the United States: Multisite Cross-Sectional Survey Study

JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2017 Nov 1;5(11):e160. doi: 10.2196/mhealth.7146.


Background: Mobile technology ownership in the general US population and medical professionals is increasing, leading to increased use in clinical settings. However, data on use of mobile technology by psychiatry residents remain unclear.

Objective: In this study, our aim was to provide data on how psychiatric residents use mobile phones in their clinical education as well as barriers relating to technology use.

Methods: An anonymous, multisite survey was given to psychiatry residents in 2 regions in the United States, including New Orleans and Boston, to understand their technology use.

Results: All participants owned mobile phones, and 79% (54/68) used them to access patient information. The majority do not use mobile phones to implement pharmacotherapy (62%, 42/68) or psychotherapy plans (90%, 61/68). The top 3 barriers to using mobile technology in clinical care were privacy concerns (56%, 38/68), lack of clinical guidance (40%, 27/68), and lack of evidence (29%, 20/68).

Conclusions: We conclude that developing a technology curriculum and engaging in research could address these barriers to using mobile phones in clinical practice.

Keywords: graduate medical education; mobile phone; psychiatry; technology.